In 2005, you followed the antics of an endearing bunch of New York City zoo animals who journeyed from captivity from to the jungles of Madagascar. Now roll on the sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, where it is time for Alex the lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) to leave Madagascar and head back home to New York. The self-engrossed lemur King Julien XIII (Sacha Baron Cohen) and trusted advisor Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) tag along as well. They’ll be flying aboard the rickety Air Penguin airline, where safety comes last. Piloted by always entertaining Skipper (Tom McGrath) and his fellow penguins, the airplane experiences trouble mid-flight, and crash-lands in the wilds of Africa.

More about the African safari after the jump.

As the penguins set to repair the plane, the other animals are overwhelmed to see more of their kind on the African plains. This is when film moves away from the group effort you saw in the previous outing to singling the animals out into their own little moments of self-realization. Marty meets a herd of doppelganger Zebras who all look and talk exactly like him; Melman the hypochondriac giraffe finds works as a witch doctor to the locals and the voluptuous Gloria finds herself being courted by the smooth-talking hippo Moto Moto (will.i.am).

Alex, however, takes centre stage once again, when his is reunited with his father, the alpha lion Zuba (Bernie Mac) and mother Florrie (Sherri Shepherd). The happiness soon ends when the evil Makunga (Alec Baldwin) executes his cunning plan, becomes the alpha lion, and banishes Alex and his family from the pride. The animals are forced to deal with the consequences of living amongst their own kind. The very next day, everyone is in a panic when they discover that their watering hole has dried up. Determined to make up for his failure, Alex and Marty risk their lives by stepping out of the reserve to discover the cause of the problem and return the water to their lands.

With the penguins and self-loving lemur stealing the show yet again, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is an entertaining romp. Unfortunately I found there were too many plotlets squeezed into the film that it hardly left room for the primary story to unfold. Overall, it’s good-natured and there are some very funny moments, but I was expecting a bit more from the franchise.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa has a run time of 89 minutes and is rated PG. This Blu-ray release presents the film re-mastered in High Definition (HD) and comes with special features including:

  • Filmmakers Commentary — Commentary from four of the co-directors and producers.
  • It’s a Family Affair: The Cast of Escape 2 Africa — The voice cast talks about the film.
  • The Making of Escape 2 Africa — A behind-the-scenes featurette.
  • Crash Landing — A talk about the crash landing animation sequence.
  • African Adventure — The film crew travels to Africa for research.
  • Jambo Jambo: Swahili Speak — A look at Swahili words and phrasing.
  • The Bronx Zoo: Madagascar — The director of the Bronx Zoo gives a tour of the Madagascar exhibit.
  • Mad Music — A few music videos of songs from the film.
  • Test Flight of Air Penguin — A interactive game for the children.
  • Dreamworks Animation Video Jukebox — A collection of theme songs from other Dreamworks films.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a BD-Live enabled Blu-ray title that allows for interactive viewing and enables you to download additional content over the Internet using a BD-Live equipped Blu-ray player or a Sony PlayStation 3.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa was kindly supplied for review by SterKinekor Entertainment. Go to www.bluraydisc.co.za to view the latest Blu-ray news, reviews, and competitions featured on the Blu-ray newsletter. Sony Pictures can be found on the Web at www.sonypictures.com.